What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome?

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The cause of restless leg syndrome is not completely known, but many doctors believe it can be related to genetic factors, low iron levels in the brain or the result of various diseases. Restless leg syndrome, abbreviated as RLS, has also been shown to be a symptom of various diseases, including: peripheral neuropathy, chronic kidney failure or even diabetes.

WebMD explains that circumstances such as lack of sleep, pregnancy, alcohol use and use of prescription medications, such as antihistamines and antipsychotics, can trigger restless leg syndrome symptoms. Even minimizing or eliminating these factors, however, does not guarantee that symptoms stop completely. The main treatment for restless leg syndrome is to treat the symptoms rather than the cause, by implementing lifestyle changes and exercises recommended by a doctor.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, some tests have shown that restless leg syndrome can be a result of the brain circuits that use dopamine short-circuiting. Dopamine is used by the brain to produce smooth, fluid muscle movement throughout the body. The interruption or blockage of the circuits that transmit dopamine throughout the brain can cause sudden muscle spasms or involuntary movements. Patients with Parkinson's Disease often have a similar disruption of dopamine within the brain that results in restless leg syndrome symptoms.